Yes.

LA freeway

We’ll build a massive eight-lane freeway, but a new rail line? Don’t be silly:

While the Brumby Government is willing to consider another freeway to the airport, a rail line from the CBD remains off the agenda.

On Monday, speaking at a transport conference, Roads Minister Tim Pallas said it was not a priority. ”It’s time we recognised the SkyBus service to Melbourne Airport is an enormously popular form of mass transit that successfully fulfils the need for public transport to the airport,” he said. ‘‘Should taxpayers devote a couple of billion dollars to a huge infrastructure project so Melbourne can boast of the dubious honour of an airport rail link?”

Yes.

Where’s our “Rail” Minister?

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23 responses to “Yes.

  1. and the labor party wonders why they’re losing to the greens in the northern suburbs… morons.

    more importantly, couldn’t they just run a railway from broadmeadows station to the airport, about 4kms away (if that?) and then have express trains?

  2. “Where’s our “Rail” Minister?”

    Do we still have one ?

  3. As a visitor to Melbourne several times a year, I have used the Skybus. It is good, but gets very crowded and not a lot of room for luggage. Given that is uses Southern Cross station as a base, isn’t the idea of a rail link rather obvious? I would have thought if there’s room for more freeways or more lanes on existing freeways, there’s room for a rail line. Don’t make the same mistakes as Sydney, where everything is now overrun with huge roads lined with concrete sound barriers.

  4. Another Sydney mistake you might want to avoid is allowing a private operator to build the airport rail link and then charge $15 each way for a ticket.

  5. Agreed Mondo. If more than one person is going to the airport, it is cheaper, more comfortable and less hassle to take a cab.

  6. It makes sense to have the Airport linked to the proposed outer ring road. Not everyone is travelling directly to the CBD. It also provides an additional link between the inner city and the outer ring road.

    As a side note there will be a rail line for freight constructed in the median of the ORR and a huge freight exchange built near Cragieburn.

  7. Why don’t we build rail links whenever we build a new freeway?

  8. Jeremy, there are much higher priorities in the public transport system than an airport rail link.

  9. I might swallow that, if they were doing those instead.

  10. “Jeremy, there are much higher priorities in the public transport system than an airport rail link.”

    Because they’ve ignored the rail link whilst their PT system has steadily degraded over the years! It’s the Vic Govt’s inaction that has created these priories.

    How many major cities with major airports in the developed world don’t have a PT link? Anyone know?

  11. The SkyBus is terrible – $16 each way, often so crowded you have to stand up for the whole trip, plus you are forced to watch an asinine 20-minute advertisement either for ‘Melbourne’ or for the wonders of shopping at Melbourne Airport.

    If it is ‘enormously popular’, it’s only because there’s nothing else. I’m actually embarrassed to tell visitors to Melbourne they have to get this bus or a taxi to get anywhere from the airport.

  12. I remember, back in the day, when the SkyBus was $6… >.<

    /sigh

  13. “Why don’t we build rail links whenever we build a new freeway?”

    Because the railway line will cost as much as the road and needs to be connected to the existing rail system to be viable. Also the cost benefit analysis shows PT has to be subsidised while roads can reduce travel times / improve freight which is more beneficial to the economy.

  14. “roads can reduce travel times / improve freight which is more beneficial to the economy.”

    They can but do they? In Melbourne? I know we’ve got bodgy PT but I watch freight trains with seventy carriages or more leaving Melbourne most evenings, Adelaide bound no doubt, now imagine how many trucks you’d need to replace that train and imagine the traffic jam out at deer park.

    “PT has to be subsidised”

    Yeah, I’m all for the subsidising of PT, that’s what taxes are for IMO, but for PT owned by private operators, NO WAY! Why should I subsidise overpaid execs when they can’t even deliver a decent service?

    Buy it back, make it free then you don’t have to worry about employing thuggish inspectors and the development of ridiculously expensive ticketing systems. That would be a great use of tax dollars.

  15. I’ve never had a problem with Skybus. They’re speedy and efficient.

  16. Rail is important in cities, but i reckon its even more important to rural areas.

    My town (Mt. Gambier) used to be connected to Adelaide and Melbourne by rail, until about 10-15 years ago when the service was cut (possibly due to interference by local multi millionaire trucking magnate Allan Scott, ensuring he was the only transport game in town)

    Now, even as peak oil is becoming accepted by the mainstream, the local council wants to rip up the perfectly good line and turn it into a “linear park” through town and turn the old station and yards into a shopping mall (as if we need another one)

    End result being that when we finally wise up and return to rail as a cheap and efficient way to transport freight and people, we will have to aquire a whole lot of extremely valuable land on the edge of town to build the new line, new yards etc.

    Rail just has so many advantages. No truckies on speed, no horrendous rollovers or headon collisions, less traffic through town, less damage (and therefore less maintainance costs) to the road surface, lower co2 emmissions etc.

  17. “no horrendous rollovers or headon collisions”

    I beg to differ, when trains crash/derail chaos ensues, and it takes far longer to clean up, granted they are less frequent .

  18. But otherwise Duncan, I agree.

  19. Yeah, you’re right RobJ. I probably should have said “less rollovers and head on collisions”

    Whichever, there are so many good reasons for us to revitalize our rail network, and very few reasons not to.

  20. The NSW rail system still has inspectors, provides far worse service than the Victorian/Melbourne rail service, and is publically owned and operated. Comparing public and private services in relation to trains is like comparing apples with oranges, if the apples are crap and the oranges are shit.

  21. I was told that part of the Citylink contract includes a clause that states that the Government will not build or allow to be built a rail link to the airport.

    I’m not sure if there is any truth to that.

  22. The Citylink agreement Kennett signed us up to also required them to downgrade competing roads.

    Eastlink sucks, but nowhere near as much as Citylink.

  23. I also have no problem with SkyBus, but I use the local bus to Doncaster now. It’s $32. Why? Because a taxi will cost $60. And so, “because they can”.

    I don’t understand why we’ve just accepted Pallas’ use of the phrase “dubious honor” in relation to an airport rail link without calling him out on it. Poor journalism, Clay Lucas?

    As others pointed out, almost every other major city on the planet has a rail link to the airport. Let’s run down a list of the places I go to semi regularly… London? Check. Hong Kong? Check. Singapore? Check.

    It’s not a dubious honour. It’s not an honour at all. It’s a service.

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